The All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN) says farmers in Nasarawa State are at the risk of losing their harvests due to the influx of Fulani herdsmen, following the execution of the anti-open grazing law in Benue.
The state AFAN Chairman, Malam Muazu Ishaq, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recently in Lafia that the influx of herdsmen and their cattle have been stirring up worries, as farmers are yet to harvest their produce.
“Due to the mounting fears of losing their produce, farmers in the state, especially those around the border communities, have been compelled to harvest their crops even before there are fully mature”.
“The implication is that the farmers would not get the expected harvest and some might even lose everything, which would invariably lead to food shortage in the state,’’ he said.
The chairman said that there had been no official report of any farm invasion by cattle, but warns if pre-emptive action is not taken by the relevant authorities, such farm encroachments were imminent.
He called on the government, security agencies and community leaders to be proactive by engaging the farmers and herdsmen in a dialogue so as to avert crisis.
He also urged farmers not to take laws into their hands and that they should always report any encroachment on their farms to the appropriate authorities.
Ishaq explained the need for the security agencies to beef up security around the border communities to protect farmlands.
On Benue’s anti-open grazing law, Ishaq said that its implementation should have been withheld until necessary measures were put in place to deal with all the issues that may arise
“In as much as the law would go a long way to address the incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen, its implementation should have taken into consideration all the perceptible grey areas, this would have created a win-win situation for all the parties,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the Benue State Government began the implementation of its Anti-Open Grazing Law on Nov. 1, prompting the migration of herdsmen to neighboring states, including Nasarawa State.
Following the unfolding issues, the Nasarawa State Government held series of security meetings to evaluate the situation and assured the citizens of the safety of their lives and property.